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Lavender flowers are well known and much loved for their signature aromas, beautiful purple coloring, and stately, narrow appearance. However, people throughout history have smoked lavender, too, enjoying a host of wellness benefits, including relaxation and overall calm. Those wondering about the pros and cons of smoking lavender may be surprised to learn how common and enjoyable the experience is.
However, before trying, there is much to know about smoking lavender: read our deep dive to understand it, its usefulness as a smokable plant, and more.
- Lavender is a bushy shrub with purple flowers that produce a unique, well-recognized scent that produces relaxation and calm.
- Research has pointed out several health benefits associated with consuming lavender, including cognitive protection, anti-anxiety properties, and anti-inflammatory uses.
- Smoking any plant can still be dangerous to the lungs, so you may want to opt for tea or aromatherapy instead.
What is Lavender?
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a small evergreen shrub related to the mint plant, known for its distinct aromas. There are distinct lavender species, including regionals such as French and English lavender.
These squat bushes feature separate stems, with lush blue-green flowers stacking atop one another at the tip. Lavender is indigenous to the mountains of the European Mediterranean coast, though its frequent use has increased the plant's presence worldwide by way of settlers.
The lavender plant has been used for many cultural and medicinal purposes throughout history, thanks to the inviting, relaxing feelings its aroma inspires. Lavender is commonly used for aromatherapy, with its aromatic oils extracted, fetching a high value in cosmetics, medicine, and skincare.
Lavender contains many fragrant terpenes, including high concentrations of linalool, geranial, and borneol, all of which contribute to its significantly relaxing properties. The aroma of lavender plants is also an effective insect repellant, keeping mites away from dark corners around the house.
Pros of Smoking Lavender
The current research on lavender suggests the plant gives its consumers a range of potential health benefits, many of which are thanks to its unique and fragrant terpene profile.
Linalool, a key terpene in lavender, has antimicrobial properties that represent a potential usefulness in fighting invasive bacteria and treating infections.
Brain function and neuroprotective
More research has recently emerged concerning lavender (linalool) 's ability to prevent and treat cognitive decline of Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative conditions. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, linalool helps reduce the brain plagues that define Alzheimer's and trigger loss of cognition.
Lavender and linalool are remarkably soothing, with animal studies revealing consistent stress-reducing and mood-boosting effects associated with the terpene. Another study even suggested that linalool prevented the physiological damage related to stress and inflammation when animal subjects were exposed to stressful environments.
Lavender, like CBD, has soothing properties also make it a valuable sleep aid.
Lavender and linalool's pain-relieving abilities are also worthy of consideration. Research has found that lavender helps relax pain and lessen the need for prescription pain medications with regular use, suggesting that smoking lavender could generally help with overall aches and pains.
Cons of Smoking Lavender
While many adore lavender's aroma and benefit from its use, there are some downsides to smoking any plant.
First, some individuals can develop allergies to some plants following chronic use. Lavender is a well-known allergen that can cause rashes and burns in skincare products. This has led to some beauty industry companies coming under fire for not labeling the presence of lavender and customers developing adverse responses.
Additionally, smoking plants always has its downsides. Burning plant matter can produce harmful carcinogens that can impact lung and respiratory health if done too often. It's vital to source your lavender from reputable producers who keep their plants free of pesticides, test for molds or mildew, and are bacteria-free.
How to Smoke Lavender
Smoking lavender buds or leaves is a straightforward process, similar to smoking a joint or cannabis flower in a bowl. However, the buds should be dry and ideally ground up to allow for smooth combustion. Lavenders' smoke yields a slightly bitter aftertaste, with the linalool content of its leaves slightly less than that of its flowers, where terpenes are concentrated.
Remember that you should not try and smoke lavender essential oil the way you would a concentrate or live resin. The linalool in lavender is highly flammable, making it dangerous and highly toxic to the body to smoke. Sticking to loose-leaf lavender is best to derive the most benefits and avoid any hazardous situations.
Can You Smoke Lavender with Weed?
Many people choose to smoke their lavender mixed with cannabis or hemp flower. The blend of floral, fragrant aromas with your weed strain of choice makes for a more complex and nuanced smoking experience. Lavender smoke can also smooth the harshness of cannabis bud, producing a smoother inhale that does not upset the throat or lungs.
The effects of mixing lavender and weed when smoking depend on the strain in question. When combined with a sativa-leaning strain, the lavender may mitigate any potential paranoia or too much energy by adding a layer of calm to the euphoria. For indica cultivars, lavender's calming terpenes can produce an even more relaxing body high, perfect for preparing body and mind for a good night's sleep.
Mixing THC with the combination of terpenes in lavender helps users benefit from the Entourage Effect, which enhances the wellness benefits of a given strain more than THC or lavender's terpenes more than they would provide alone.
The Bottom Line: Should You Smoke Lavender?
The jury is still out on exactly how safe it is to smoke lavender. Though we have several studies examining its medicinal benefits, there is still a long way to go to say with certainty that it'll produce consistent and targeted effects. Most of these studies were conducted on animals, which provides a helpful but incomplete understanding of its effects on humans.
Smoking is also unsafe, no matter what plant you are inhaling. No evidence suggests that smoking lavender is any safer than consuming tobacco. If you want to smoke lavender, though, you still may benefit from its medicinal properties.
However, the bottom line is there are healthy aspects to lavender and healthier ways to consume lavender besides smoking, such as using essential oils in a diffuser, drinking in tea, or mixing it with a topical cream.